When it comes to illegal immigration, most voters believe the government just needs to enforce the laws that are already on the books.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that two-out-of-three Likely U.S. Voters (67%) say it’s better to enforce existing immigration laws than to create new laws in order to combat illegal immigration. Just 24% say new immigration laws are the better course. (To see survey question wording, click here).
Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Republicans and 71% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties think it’s better to enforce existing laws on illegal immigration. Democrats are more narrowly divided on the question.
Still, the majority of voters across virtually all demographic categories agree that the emphasis should be on laws that are already in place.
Sixty-five percent (65%) of all voters say gaining control of the border is more important in terms of immigration legislation than legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States. This finding has remained largely unchanged for years.
Sixty-seven percent (67%) believe a state should have the right to enforce immigration laws if it believes the federal government is not enforcing them.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on February 16-17, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
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